At 68, Dolly Parton is showing no signs of slowing down. As the singer celebrates the 50th anniversary of when she first arrived to Nashville, she debuted at no. 6 on the Billboard 200 with her 42nd studio album, Blue Smoke, and embarked on a world tour, which included a performance at the Glastonbury Festival in the United Kingdom.
As the year draws to a close, Parton sits down with Billboard to reflect on her long-standing career, Dollywood, and her gay fans.
On how she's changed since first coming to Nashville in 1964:
I'm more successful now than I was then, but I still feel like the same girl. I'm just a working girl. I never think of myself as a star because, as somebody once said, "A star is nothing but a big ball of gas" -- and I don't want to be that.
On her performance at Glastonbury:
I was very honored. I was a little bit nervous at that show because I'd never done it before. I thought it was more for a rock crowd, and I just hoped that I would fit in. I was standing backstage all nervous and thinking, "Oh, I hope they like me. I hope that everybody's right that this is a good thing to do." And then I heard them say my name, "Dolly! Dolly! Dolly!" and I thought, "I guess they do know who I am."
On Dollywood's mix of church groups and LGBT fans:
It's a place for entertainment, a place for all families, period. It's for all that. But as far as the Christians, if people want to pass judgment, they're already sinning. The sin of judging is just as bad as any other sin they might say somebody else is committing. I try to love everybody.
On her gay following:
They know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people. I've struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I've had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself. I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don't think we should be judgmental. Lord, I've got enough problems of my own to pass judgment on somebody else.